In response to the announcement on a mailing list of a birth, and how the wonder of such an event is often cited by Christians as proof of God, one atheist said that it did not prove God to her, but then apologized, saying, "Guess I must be really cynical, huh?" Brent Allsop commented as follows. I have his permission to post his comments here. - Richard PackhamI can't understand why this view is always taken to be the "cynical" view, even by atheists. If nature, evolution, our parents... are the ones responsible for such miracles as they do the best they can, then that truly is glorious. If someone ever tried to argue the existence of God like this to me, I'd be tempted to say something like:
Oh yes, some mothers' babies have Spina Bifida, which is a neural tube defect often called open spine. Have you ever seen one of these being born? Do you have any idea how the babies and parents suffer, and how it destroys their lives? Every time I hear about something like this and all the other defects, and all the life-destroying suffering caused by such, it just makes us able to know for sure there is a God doesn't it!? Perhaps God loves you more, or it was God's will, for your baby not to have spina bifida unlike them???
If nature, our parents, and so on and so forth are the creators of all this, doing the best they can, then there is hope: perhaps we will find cures to spina bifida and all other genetic defects like this, and that something better than this will some day be possible. But if there really is already a God, then we have no hope, for if even God can't or shouldn't stop such things or do any better than this, then how can we ever hope to do any better!? To me, this is the ultimate in real cynicism, to think this way. If you think about it, the atheist is the only one that can have true hope and overcome true cynicism, and hope that something better than all this will some day be possible.
There's a big billboard in our town showing a beautiful picture of the earth. The caption is: "Without God, It's a vicious circle". I can't see how people can be so twisted and blind. For just the opposite is what is really true. If people/nature are the creators of this, doing the best they can, and forever getting better, then there is truly meaning to life, it is truly miraculous and glorious, and there can be hope for something infinitely better. But if there is already a God, If he did all this, if you're going to be honest and rational about it, then that is truly a "vicious circle".
I think we're all just mentally ill due to all the suffering and dying that is occurring, and consequently we are unable to see straight. We think the only solution is to imagine that there is some kind of meaning or some good in a birth defect like Down's syndrome, spina bifida, or whatever. But during the next hundred years (or perhaps 1000 years or more, if you're a real pessimist) we're going to find cures to most things that cause us to suffer and die, like spina bifida, aging, and so on and so forth. This will allow us to abandon this mental illness of trying to find Godly meaning in such life-destroying suffering.
I have faith that long before there is anything like a true God, there will be doctors that can be called in to do such miracles and reliably cure all such things as spina bifida and that we'll eventually be able to overcome all such life-destroying suffering. We'll no longer have to imagine that it might be "God's will" for us to suffer so... Now that is true hope and abandonment of cynicism, if you ask me.
Comments? (Please, no preaching, testimonies, or hate mail!) Write: email@example.com or Brent Allsop
© 2000 Brent Allsop Permission granted to reproduce for non-commercial purposes, provided text is not changed and this copyright notice is included
TO RICHARD PACKHAM'S HOME PAGE
To search this website or the web: